A picture book store facing ‘priceless thing’ for children in honesty.
Text : Ayumu Sasaki / Photo : Naoki Matsuda
There is a children’s bookstore ‘Kinderland’, which carries picture books and fairy tales, in a residential area almost in a middle between Okazaki Park area and Kamogawa River. When you go up the stairs along with barefoot footprints, you will see so many picture books lining up inside.
The manager of the shop, Osamu Hasuoka is originally a monk and went abroad for assistance to affected areas and international support activity at war zones, through a physical labor and a gardening company, he is finally here at a bookstore. Including their stocks, they have 4,500 books inside and everything has been chosen very carefully. He said, “I select new books going through my eyes in order to maintain a quality balance at my store. I feel responsible for children to have them read good and enjoyable books”.
“A picture book is supposed to be dignified in order to have people feel that, ’they are glad to be born in this world’ or ‘to tell love from parents to their children’. I don’t select books just because they are beautiful, cute, and exciting. I sell books that have parents and their children read books together and share their excitement and also make everyone want to read it once again even they became adult”.
As a third-rate-class professional, Mr, Hasuoka chooses books with his responsibility. I asked him what kind of book he likes and he answered, “I used to be taught by a president of a publishing company about a picture book before, and his company publishes a really good quality picture books out there. I like a book to educate children’s sensibilities and grow their love inside, and also a book that don’t try to gain kids’ favor and fulfill their responsibilities in honesty. A book that delivers something important to their minds. A great influence given by the books that children read will decide what kind of imagination and thought they are going to have in the future. As a parent who has a small child, I have to be really careful about it”.
The book he chose for me was, One Step, Two (written by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, Dowakan publishing) which you can have a child’s perspective who walking outside, and A Quiet Tale (written by Samuil Marshak, illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev, Dowakan publishing) a story about a parent and child living in nature.
Mr, Hasuoka said, “These are the books which were created very thoughtfully by expressing a relationship between parent and child. It was 50 years ago when A Quiet Tale was published, but it is still very interesting to read in these days. One Step, Two has a careful color touch for the illustration and it is amazing to see a balance of color temperature. It is wrong to think that a picture book can be simple for children, because this is the first art work they have ever seen. Selecting books is not an easy work at all. We can’t do any careless work, so that we hope all the picture book writers can be the same attitude we have”.
On the third floor of Kinderland, there is ‘Donguri Hiroba’ as a gathering place for Kyoto City Child Care Support Center. This is the space for parents who have concerns about how to spend a time with their kids, and parents are able to spend some times unhurried and relaxed with their kids together here. They can also have some communication with the other parents and children and moreover they can take counsel with a professional advisors who are stationed there and have great experience of raising children.
Kinderland selects books for a kindergarten and events of a department store and has a lot of trusts from everywhere around and now they put a lot of effort into this club called ‘Book Club’. This is the service to deliver books that Kinderland selects to each faimly every month. He told me, “I set up a course depending on children’s ages and select books according to their needs. The experience that parent and child read together will be remembered forever”.
You are also able to participate in ’13 months picture book project’ in this ‘Book Club’. He informed, “A usual book club has a system to deliver 12 different picture books per year, but if you add one more month on it, parent and children can take part in the project to ship picture books to the children overseas who have never read picture books before. I think this is the real international cooperation to feel more connected to the country you don’t know by imagining the books you wrote your name on are going to be in the library somewhere overseas. We pay one third of expense to collaborate with everyone to support its international cooperation”.
“We would like to grow ‘priceless thing’ through a picture book and also we are able to participate in an international cooperation as well. Through getting excited and thinking together, and reading a picture book itself will generate something heartfelt story inside a family and I believe that the story is the core part to make a family unite”.
<Children’s bookstore ‘Kinderland’>
ADDRESS : 2F Kinder-building, 351 Kashira-cho Nijo-sagaru, Shinainomachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-752-9275
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. Donguri Hiroba will be until 4:00 p.m.
CLOSED : Wednesday and holiday (irregular holiday), New Year’s holiday. Donguri Hiroba closed : Wednesday, Sunday, and Holiday.
WEBSITE : http://kinderland-jp.com